Trends in Medical Devices — Innovations and Use
Medical devices play a crucial role in helping medical personnel analyze, monitor, and treat patients. Medical devices can range from simple tongue depressors to sophisticated imaging systems and complex programmable pacemakers. The main product categories include electro-medical equipment, surgical implants and instruments, irradiation apparatuses, in-vitro diagnostic equipment, and dental goods.
Today, one of the most significant changes transforming healthcare services and delivery are medical devices powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Doctors are now using this technology to diagnose disease, identify ailments, and enhance clinical trials and clinical practice efficiencies. In the coming years, AI and ML will lead to more targeted, personalized treatments. Recognizing this emerging medical healthcare segment, in 2018 the Food and Drug Administration introduced new guidelines addressing the area, stressing the need for caution without restricting access to the latest technologies or stifling innovation.
According to data from Grand View Research, the market for equipment and applications using AI in healthcare is projected to grow from $10.4 billion in 2021 to $120.2 billion by 2028. A key contributor to this growth is medical technologies such as robotic-assisted diagnostics and surgery diagnostics. Robots are automating research laboratories, helping doctors treat patients, and are even doing other tasks like disinfecting hospitals. Microbots and nanotechnology also show great promise, as they can target specific body areas such as tumors when working inside the body.
The role and use of smart, connected devices have grown tremendously. IoT-connected devices are providing makers of medical devices with new opportunities for further innovations. Emerging technologies such as smart sensors and other lightweight medical communication devices and tools are now referred to as IoMT, the Internet of Medical Things. The new data being collected and shared with other healthcare organizations presents new and potential revenue sources for medical device companies, both small and large. Many medical device and equipment manufacturers are exploring integrating IoMT into their business models to support healthcare.
Extended reality modes such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been borrowed from the entertainment industry for use on the medical front. VR, AR and mixed reality are now used in surgery simulation, patient treatment, and care. Virtual reality technology is also widely used for medical training.
Wearable gadgets are growing in popularity and use. According to estimates by Gartner, In December 2018, globally, the availability of wearables rose by 26 percent, with shipments reaching $225 million the following year. It is predicted that as wearables become the new norm, their use for medical purposes such as monitoring vital health indicators will also become common.
The advances in smart, connected medical devices come with one major downside, the increasing threat of cyberattacks. As the number of IoMT devices increases, so too does the possibility of hackers gaining unauthorized access to medical and patient data. Securing patient safety and privacy must therefore become a priority for MedTech companies. For example, in June 2019, the EU ratified the Cybersecurity Act requiring manufacturers to integrate IT security measures for medical equipment and devices to protect against hacking or unauthorized access. In the US, the FDA expects manufacturers to manage cybersecurity risk for their products.
Originally published at http://jonathankievmd.wordpress.com on November 9, 2021.